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Qualifiers - Group I: Flying starts for Japan, Myanmar

Yangon: Japan and Myanmar opened their AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 qualifying campaigns in resounding fashion after securing big wins over Macau and Timor Leste respectively at the Thuwunna Stadium on Friday.

Japan 8-0 Macau

Ayase Ueda's hat-trick spurred Japan to their first win of their qualifying campaign in Group I, as they will face Timor-Leste next on Sunday, while Macau will be aiming to bounce back when they take on Myanmar.

The East Asians imposed themselves early in the match and despite having the bulk of possession, the Japanese found it hard to break down their opponents with only a shot on goal.

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Macau were comfortable soaking up the pressure at the back as they braved waves of Japan attacks to keep the score goalless at half-time.

Any hope of keeping the Japanese at bay were quickly diminished in the second half as Macau found themselves under heavy pressure from their opponents.

Japan broke the deadlock five minutes after the restart after Koki Machida's strike and doubled their lead four minutes later through Ueda.

Ueda scored Japan’s third at the hour mark to take a 3-0 lead, but the East Asians were not content as they turned up the tempo as the floodgates opened with further strikes.

Japan showed their class scoring four goals in six minutes through Keita Endo and Daizen Maeda in the 67th minute and 69th minute respectively, while Ueda completed his hat-trick on the 71st minute followed by Maeda's strike a minute later.

You Itakura added further gloss to the scoreline with his strike in added time to give the young Samurai Blue a comprehensive victory.

Myanmar 7-0 Timor-Leste

Timor Leste Myanmar took a huge step forward in their quest to qualifying for the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 with a 7-0 victory over Timor-Leste.

Hein Htet Aung and Win Naing Tun contributed two goals apiece as they overwhelmed Timor-Leste from the first blow of the first whistle.

Htet Aung opened their account after just four minutes and quickly added another a minute later to double Myanmar’s advantage.

Myanmar oozed with confidence and scored the third through Myat Kaung Khant’s effort in the 24th minute before Naing Tun found the net in added time to put the young White Angels 4-0 up at the break.

Velizar Popov’s side continued their dominance in the second half, giving their opponents no chance of a fightback as they furthered their advantage in the game.

Zayar Naing scored Myanmar’s fifth in the 52nd minute before Ye Min Thu’s effort 10 minutes later and Naing Tun added the icing on the cake in the 64th minute to give the Southeast Asians the victory.

Photos: Myanmar Football Federation

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